GCC startups are engines of innovation and growth without which end users are left with needs unfulfilled. The two largest economies in the GCC, Saudi and the UAE, share the spoils in this article, raising over $15 million in total for ventures ranging from automotive and real estate to farming.
1- Odiggo- Dubai
Dubai-based automotive tech platform, Odiggo, has raised $2.2 million in a seed round.
Odiggo was founded in 2019 and has already witnessed rapid growth and success as the regional market welcomes enhancement of the car servicing processes through the company’s one-stop-shop app for all things auto-related.
Connecting customers with dealers, Odiggo works with over 300 merchants across Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi, serves over 45,000 users.
Odiggo has $2.3 mn raised in total seed-stage funding and is now planning to expand its teams across the region, and paving the way to its ambition of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) by 2024.
2- Mabaat- Jeddah
The company was established in 2019 and now became the largest specialized short-term rental platform in the country.
Mabaat specializes in renting out mid-to-high-end residential units on behalf of owners on a short-term basis and handles the entire rental process from marketing to booking, payments, and property maintenance. The Saudi startup aims to use the funding to boost its marketing strategy for domestic travelers, enhance its technology infrastructure, and expand its growing team.
3- Baraka- Dubai
Dubai-based fintech Baraka has raised $4 mn in a seed round. The round takes the total capital raised to date by Baraka to $5 mn. It raised $1 mn in a pre-seed earlier this year.
Founded in 2020, Baraka has been building an ecosystem to makes investments in US securities easy and accessible for retail investors in the Middle East. Until now, it had been educating users through an investment academy and content.
It has now launched its commission-free mobile investment app that enables users in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait, to invest in 5,000 US-listed securities including stocks, ETFs, and fractional shares, without any minimum investment requirements. The app also offers a dashboard for users to track and manage their portfolio plus access the content curated by Baraka’s team and learn about investing through the academy.
The startup plans to use the investment to further enhance its platform and scale in the region.
4- Red Sea Farms
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Farms has raised an additional $6 million in pre-Series A funding, bringing the total round to $16 mn.
This follows an initial $10 million investment the company unveiled in June of this year.
Red Sea Farms, which is based out of King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) in Saudi, is developing a system for crops that relies primarily on saltwater as the primary irrigation input.
The idea is to provide more resource options for farmers in parts of the world where freshwater is less abundant. The company’s technology can use saltwater for evaporative cooling in greenhouses, which could potentially cut a facility’s carbon footprint.
Red Sea Farms currently has three grow sites, all in Saudi. The pre-Series A round of funding will help the company expand its operations in Saudi and other parts of the Middle East, as well as explore opportunities in the US.
Red Sea Farms says it can cut freshwater consumption of farming operations by 85 to 90% through its system.
5- The Stock- Riyadh
Saudi Arabia-based visual content platform The Stock has raised $667,000 in a pre-seed funding round.
The startup said the funding will allow it to add new offerings and develop its platform.
The Stock was founded earlier this year and provides innovators, professionals, and business owners with on-demand high-quality visual content.
The startup aims to empower Saudi photographers by providing them with an accessible platform where they can showcase and sell their visual content.